It’s time to rethink the way we were doing things and start coming up with innovative solutions. I’ve heard the expression that desperate times call for desperate measures. But what if unusual times call for unusual measures? It’s interesting that in light of all the cracks we’re seeing emerge in our social system from the breakdown in our ability to educate children, to the disparity in where our medical resources and supplies are vers where they’re needed.
During this global pandemic one thing we can be present to is that the way things were going wasn’t working. And one of the signs of something not working is that when it’s needed there is a complete inability to show up. We’re seeing that across our healthcare system, our education system, our financial systems.
Some friends and I shared earlier in the week the economic stimulus package seems to be setting up the nation to exacerbate an already dire situation. If people don’t have money to pour into the economy, should the economy give them money in hopes that it will return to them? This is based on the assumption that that’s what people would do if given the opportunity in this moment. But what if instead of business-as-usual we all start seeing new and innovative solutions to our problems?
Seeing New and Innovative Solutions
What could be possible if instead of all of us pouring money back into large institutions we instead started to exchange with local businesses?
Everyone now is seeing urgency in maintaining some semblance of normalcy with online learning at scale. Instead, what if thousands upon thousands of parents decided that homeschooling isn’t such a far-fetched notion after all?
I know in my home, we’re already seeing some of the deficiencies in how our public school system works. As someone who’s worked in the education sector, I know it’s no small feat to educate people en masse. But who says that’s what is best anyway?
Seek to rebuild an exact replica of what has been broken?
Or come up with a better solution to reform your foundation?
The real truth is that people are very different on an individual level both in terms of the things that we need, but also in how we learn and absorb information. The idea that we could somehow educate everyone in the same manner as though we were all cookie cutter representations of each other makes no sense. It’s part of why I love the Montessori model where learning happens organically through the process of being a real human being in the world. This is how most life skills are acquired, and yet somehow our education system is created contrary to that.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Marie, that’s radical! That’s a completely new way of thinking.” And of course. I think that’s the entire idea. When something breaks under strain do we then seek to rebuild the exact replica of what has been broken or would you try to come up with better innovative solutions to reform your foundation?
Coming Face-to-face with our Humanity
There’s an overwhelming number of people scurrying to have zoom meetings. And video conference calls. It’s as though we’re choosing to ignore all the things we have ignored in the past. Things like: people have families and loved ones to care for, children to raise, meals to cook, groceries to buy, medicine to pick up from the store. When we get up and go into an office everyday it’s easy to act as though that part of ourselves (our humanity) does not exist. But now that all of the meetings are being held in our own living rooms and bedrooms we are all face-to-face with our humanity and that of our colleagues too.
We get to examine all the things that aren’t working, and reassess the plans on the things that are.
What has us thinking that the way things were going before should then continue? Why, if I had 13 meetings on my calendar Monday through Friday, should I still have that same number of meetings on my calendar? Are we not in this moment more present to our own humanity? More present to the universal needs that allow us to call each other members of the same race? Would it be so disruptive for all of us to slow down? Instead of trying to rush everything into exactly as it was, what if we actually slowed down? We can reevaluate what we want to keep, and what we want to take with us into the future.
Any good project manager will tell you that the key to advancing your project at scale is making sure that you’re doing your pre- and your post-mortems. We’ve just been given this opportunity to do a huge post-mortem on the business of being members of this planet. Which means we get to examine all the things that aren’t working, and reassess plans on the things that are. We get to come up with brand new innovative solutions.
What would You do Differently?
If you were to look at some of the infrastructures that are currently deteriorating before you, what do you see as opportunities to stop/ start working on your ways of conducting business? I’m already considering stopping my participation in mass public education. I will continue cooking meals for my family on Sundays. Meal planning and grocery shopping on Sundays limits my number of trips to the store during the week. And I’ve decided to start reading more and taking walks with my family. Because when I look back on my week those are the parts that I’m enjoying the most.
But, instead of zooming all the way out to what world can start/stop/continue, why not take some time to look at what this means for you? Whether you’ve been self quarantined in a big city or have traveled to greener pastures (literally), when you examine your week, what are the things that are working? What are the things that are not? And what will you decide to bring with you to the future?
If nothing else, I am hoping that this massive shutdown of so many of our systems causes all of us to reflect and take a serious look at our personal post-mortem. Because nothing about this is usual. And the beautiful part is nothing has to be usual ever again.